Dear Mr Daly
Following your appearance before the Republic of Ireland PAC committee in Dublin, I am writing to offer you the oppourtunity to challenge the evidence I provided before the Northern Ireland DFP committee, and indeed the information I have included on my blog.
During the hearing before the PAC on 01 October 2015 in the Dail, you remarked that you would like to challenge some of the evidence provided by me and by Mr Gareth Graham.
You further stated that “evidence is lacking” from my blogs and claimed you were “amazed people swallow it”.
You did not, however, provide any basis for your amazement nor did you contradict any of the information I have provided, which is relevant to NAMA.
Whilst you remarked “evidence is lacking”- you did not take the oppourtunity to expose any falsehoods or refute any of my information. Your view that “evidence is lacking” does not detract from the information and I note that you did not question whether the information was correct or not, rather it appeared you took the view that it did not matter whether the information was true or not.
In light of the above, and given you made it clear yesterday that you would like to challenge some of the information I have provided, I would like to invite you to clarify any elements of my information that you feel is false or misleading.
I do, of course, firmly stand over all the information I have provided but I do feel that it is prudent to offer you the oppourtunity to challenge any of the information I have placed into the public domain or provided to the Northern Ireland DFP committee.
I should point out that during yesterday’s hearing, under questioning from Mary-Lou McDonald TD, the NAMA delegation informed the committee that the reserve price had been set in January at £1.3 billion and had then been “adjusted”. The NAMA delegation failed to inform the committee that this price was “adjusted” to £1.24 billion in “early April” according to previous statements made by NAMA CEO Mr McDonagh and subsequent to this the Cerberus bid arrived- which was a minuscule £100,000 over the adjusted reserve price- on April 1 and was accepted by NAMA on April 3.
Within 72 hours in “early April” the reserve price was adjusted, Cerberus’s bid came in almost identical to this reserve and their bid was accepted. This, I am sure you would agree, is simply remarkable.
In evidence yesterday NAMA also stated that the bidders would have known the reserve price. So when exactly did NAMA inform Cererbus and Fortress that the reserve price had been adjusted from £1.3 billion to £1.24 billion? If this adjustment took place in early April, as stated by Mr McDonagh, then either inside 24 hours NAMA informed Cererbus of the adjustment and they in turn adjusted their bid and submitted it- or else Cerberus were unaware of the adjusted reserve price and- just like Fortress- they bid below the reserve price. This would, of course, have been a pretty pointless excercise because any bid below the reserve price would not have been accepted. Even setting aside the remarkable circumstances arising in “early April”, how could there possibly be a competitive bidding process when Fortress could never have won?
I am sure you appreciate that given 1 April is just about the earliest in April you can get, that there are some questions to be answered about the adjustment of the reserve price and Cerberus’s identical bid- all on the same day- not to mention the bid from Fortress, who I have described as a “stalking horse”.
What due diligence did NAMA do on Fortress? Did you know that Brendan McGinn of Fortress is a business partner of Frank Cushnahan and Peter Robinson’s legal representative, Mr Paul Tweed?
And even if NAMA did know of the link I have illuminated above, would it have made any difference? There was no concern when it became apparent the same legal firms were representing Cerebus that had represented PIMCO- who of course had to withdraw following the revelation they were to pay a fee of £5 million to former NAMA NI advisory committee member Mr Frank Cushnahan- who had an office in Tughans and had Tughans “assistants”. NAMA of course emailed documents (you were unable to tell us what documents) to these Tughans “assistants”. So by your own testimony NAMA was emailing information to “assistants” in the law firm that would go on to represent both of the bidders.
NAMA sought fit to exclude PIMCO from the process, yet when all the same players moved over to assist the Cerebus bid- NAMA ignored the blatant conflicts of interest and continued with business as usual. It was the same web of solictors, fixers, politicians and businessmen- who had been caught in the act with the PIMCO bid- that ended up with their hands all over the Cerberus deal. Perhaps NAMA felt it was just a big happy coincidence that all these individuals just happened to be entwined with both bids?
Did it ever cross NAMA’s mind that this web spread not only from the PIMCO bid to the Cerberus bid but that it also had links with the Fortress bid?
To also suggest it was appropriate for NAMA to hold meetings in the offices of a law firm who would represent not one, but two of the bidders for the NI loan portfolio, is perhaps only slightly more preposterous than the suggestion that it was fine for NAMA to send documents to Mr Cushnahans Tughans “assistants”.
If you wish to clarify these points then I of course welcome that. Questioning why people “swallow” the information I have provided is no substitute for a full and factual rebuttal. If there is nothing to hide and I have misled everyone, then I am quite sure a forensic and robust interrogation of every word of my information would then naturally lead to a factual rebuttal, which would expose my information as false.
I do wish to place on record, much in the same vain as Shane Ross TD at the 1 Oct 2015 PAC meeting- that I do not believe NAMA have willingly engaged in any criminal activity or knowingly allowed the bidding process to be corrupted. I do not question the integrity of NAMA, however I can’t help but feel that you have been manipulated by a web of vultures and vipers- which include in their number senior Northern Ireland politicians.
I look forward to hearing from you.